Helping Hands


Does anyone else remember that Calgon slogan? For some reason, it stuck with me through childhood and continues to pop into my brain every time I’m overwhelmed. I. Am. Pooped! 2015 has been a busy year! (And fabulous, too!) I won’t overwhelm you with a long post to close our year. Instead, I’ll focus on two comprehensive philosophies that can lead you into a New Year filled with giving.



There are countless ways that you can help others, and that helpful nature is what makes the kidlit community so strong. A few ideas:

  • Answer a question for a kidlit friend in need
  • Share resources- Like some of those listed in last month’s post
  • Read & Share blog posts
  • Leave encouraging comments on posts
  • Write your own blog posts and feature guests
  • Honor guidelines: When an online course or conference asks you to not share the content, respect their wishes. It’s hard to earn a living as a full-time writer!
  • Write reviews for authors & illustrators

Here’s one right now! Author Miranda Paul has a new book coming out on February 1 from Milbrook Press (Lerner Publishing Group). I love how it fits in with this post’s theme and highlights how our entire world is filled with helpers.


Whose Hands Are These? highlights the important roles of individuals in our community through a guessing game structure and perfect rhyme and meter. Prediction clues and exciting page turns foster higher levels of engagement. Paul’s book is not only a great curricular resource, but a fun way for parents to speak to the many questions children have about careers and community helpers. Illustrator Luciana Navarro Powell clearly viewed things through a child’s eyes when creating the secret guessing pages. All of the focus is placed to the mystery hands in action. The reveal pages show the community helpers from head to toe, and still, it’s almost as if a little person is looking up at them. This great perspective and the positive, happy vibe running through facial expressions and active body language offer a reward for the thinking that goes into each guess.


It’s tough to get anywhere in the KidLit community if you are not willing to accept feedback. You want those books published, right? You’ll hopefully have lots of feedback coming your way from editors or art directors in the future, among others. Be willing to accept the things that will help you grow and achieve your dreams. Let your guard down enough to try new things. You never know unless you try.

If you are not yet a member of SCBWI, that’s the first logical step and also an important one for experienced or published authors and illustrators, as well.



Authors Elaine Kiely Kearns and Sylvia Liu know a thing or two about helping kidlit professionals. As the founders of KidLit 411, they provide links to online resources and connections for our community. Elaine and Sylvia have also gone the extra mile to create a Facebook community that revolves around critiques: KidLit 411 Manuscript Swap. Allow KidLit 411 to help you in the new year. With the wide variety offered, there is something there for everyone.

kidlit banner birds wire
Art by Sylvia Liu

We hope that we have been helpful to you this year, too!

Writers’ Rumpus will be taking a short break in honor of the winter holiday season. Look for our next post on Tuesday, January 5.

Happy New Year!



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